Bipartisan Committee Leaders Request Comprehensive Review of Federal Mental Health Programs

April 10, 2013

WASHINGTON, DC – As part of an ongoing effort to address mental illness following the Newtown tragedy, Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO) today requested OMB provide a list of all federal mental health research, prevention, and treatment programs, including the total amount of federal funds each of these programs receives.

Murphy and DeGette wrote, “While the vast majority of individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression are not violent, those with untreated severe mental illness are two to three times more likely to exhibit violent behavior – directed at themselves or others. The presence of such disorders in perpetrators of mass violence demands additional research, investigation, and understanding as to what went wrong. To understand the current approach in the mental health arena, the committee is reviewing relevant federal programs and policies, research, and treatments.”

In order to gain a better understanding of current federal programs, the members requested OMB provide a list of all federal mental health research, prevention, and treatment programs, including the total amount of federal funds.

The members added, “Working together we can ensure federal resources are effectively used so that tax dollars reach directly down to the level of patients and their families.”

The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee has been examining whether federal dollars devoted to mental health are reaching those individuals with the most serious mental illnesses and ensuring the most effective treatments are available to them. The letter comes after a March 5, 2013, bipartisan forum in which members learned that half of individuals with severe mental illness do not even recognize the problem, and may refuse treatment and medication to help them recover.

Read the letter online here.

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